5908Re: [fukuoka_farming] Natural farming on highlands
- Dec 1, 2006Hi Miguel,
Steve Vanek at Cornell has done important work in testing cover crops for the tropical highlands. Try emailing him at siv2@.... A quick Cornell report on the subject is available at http://mulch.mannlib.cornell.edu/ccth/covcropspecies.htm
Frijol Chinapopo, Tarwi, Yellow and White Sweet Clovers, Garotilla (Bur-Medic), Sanfoin, Woolypod Vetch, and Phalaris Grass have all been tried with some degree of success.
An aggressive, deep-rooted legume like sweet clover, together with a grain like Quinoa, and a grass like Phalaris, would probably be ideal for increasing humus. Also, if you can grow Yacon, Sunchoke, and Chicory (Cichorium intybus) in the mix, the inulin in the roots should, after several rotations, add to the fertility of the soil. Generally, grains, grasses, legumes, and the high inulin plants (chicory, sunchoke, artichoke, onion, asparagus, sunflower) work together to create a "ley" that produces fertile topsoil. If any one of these categories of plants is missing in the cover crop (probably more accurately the "root crop" mix), you will may fall short of acheiving maximum benefits.
New Orleans, LA
torskel87 <torskel87@...> wrote:
This is Miguel from Ecuador, I am very interested in the subject of
cover crops because I have been building terraces and once that I
build them the remaining soil is really poor because the intensive
labor and movement of the topsoil.
Maybe is not so natural to build terraces, and I am building them like
the Incas used to do,but I´ve seen that if you don´t build them in
hilly lands, water absortion and soil fertility are poor, once that I
build them the remaining soil is really poor so what I´ve trying is to
rebuild it with cover crops, but I am wondering if the cover crops
might be able to rebuild top soil once the it´s been completly mooved,
somebody have an idea about this...I ve tried two ways of building
terraces, one is by slow formation, just building a green wall of
grass and leting the soil to be cariied year after year by the rain,
and in this case the terraces are narrow, in this kind of terraces
I´ve tried with natural farming, the other way is building a tall wall
and moove all the soil with a hoe until I get a flat surface, in this
case is when I wonder if a cover crop might be able to rebuild the
soil????? In this case the terraces are usally broad.
Maybe it would more natural to create green contours, but it would
take a really long time until I get a flat surface on a slope.If
somebody have expeience with farming on hilly lands I would thank any
idea or advice.
The advantages of terracing are that once builded, fertility remains
forever and is not washed by the rain, and water absortion improves a
lot.Also the microclamate created in the terrace prtotects the plants
from the harsh conditions of the highlands(I am farming over 9200
ft)specially wind and frost, I´ve tried natural farming on terraces
and it works really good but only once the fertility is back, in some
terraces I´´ve been trying to grow vegetables in a natural way and is
amaizing to see daikon, lettuce, chard, turnip and clover replanting
by themselvs with any work year after year, the only thing that I do
in some terraces is spacing because daikon and lettuce seeds are
scattered by birds and grow to thick, but once that the spacing is
done the only thing that i have to do is harvesting....
Soon i would like to post some photos about the terraces and the
natural replanting of vegetables and andean tubers, but how do i post
the photos in the group???
--- In email@example.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
>exactly right; unless you plan to specialize in growing some
> Hi Ty and Steve,
> Everything Steve said about rocks that far down under the field is
fantastically deep underground plant like the Japanese Imo mountain
yam (cinnamon vine), you have plenty enough depth in your soil to grow
most vegetables, legumes, and fruits. In addition to adding organic
matter, you could experiment with various seasonaly rotating cover
crops to see which work best for you in your microclimate.
>vetch in fall/winter, buckwheat in summer, and yellow blossom clover
> Some cover crops to try are spelt, ryegrass, red clover, and hairy
or birdsfoot trefoil in spring. Also try agricultural chicory for as
long as you can keep it going. Yellow mustard, daikon, and oilseed
radish are also good bets.
>both the humus and the glomular glycoprotein parts that science now
> Each of these crops has its own special role in creating topsoil,
tells us are essential for soil fertility. Rye and buckwheat are
alleopathic and do most of your weeding for you; buckwheat also takes
up and releases phosphorus. Red Clover and yellow sweet clover burrow
through the hard soil (though don't expect them to do much with the
boulders--at least in the next 100 years) and fix nitrogen from the
air; birdsfoot trefoil also fixes nitrogen and is not nearly so
finicky about getting started as the clovers are; hairy vetch is a
companion plant to rye that flourishes in cool weather; buckwheat will
grow in the steaming South; yellow mustard mines nutrients from low
levels, sudan grass provides mass for decomposition; chicory adds
inulin to the soil to build humus, and so forth. One of the old "ley"
mixes might work well for you too (these usually combine chicory or
burnet, a bunchgrass or two, a few
> kinds of rye, a legume and some herbs for good measure). And don'tforget Fukuoka's beloved short and middle-sized white clovers, White
Dutch, New Zealand or New Zealand Dutch, or Ladino. In my experience
the white clovers work best after a few years of soil build up and
preparation. Then, you can really sow some vegetables among the
clovers and they just might come up.
>high quantity volume: Cooper Seeds http://www.cooperseeds.com for
> Some places where you can find these cover crops, expecially in
buckwheat, ryegrass, hairy vetch and chicory and some of the clovers.
Main Street Seeds ttp://www.mainstreetseedandsupply.com a good
> Pinetree Seeds http://www.superseeds.com for spelt and bird'sfoot
>(including yellow and white)mustard, oilseed radish (Johnny's Seeds
> Peaceful Valley Seeds http://www.groworganic.com for mixed
http://www. also has these and Sudan grass as well), an herbal pasture
mix (what I call a "ley mix"), and several clovers.
> Bob Monie
> Zone 8
> Steve Gage <sgage@...> wrote:
> Hey there Ty,
> Sounds exactly like typical New Hampshire conditions, only here we
> the glacier instead of contractors :-)[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> I surely wouldn't worry about what's 15-20 feet down. 15-20 inches is
> more like it around here.
> When you say "not very thick" about the topsoil, what do you mean? And
> it would be useful to let us know where you are. I know you're not in
> New Hampshire, because of the palm trees :-)
> In any case, there's probably quite a bit of soil around those big
> rocks. And what are you intending to grow? Seems like if the grass and
> palm trees are happy, you should have something to work with.
> But here's my free all-purpose prescription: Add organic matter :-)
> All best,
> - Steve
> tykei2 wrote:
> > Hi All,
> > I think I may have a problem. I have secured a plot of land for
> > farming. But I recently discovered that its made up of several layers
> > that may make it difficult for farming, Im not sure.
> > Its land that was modified to make the house that is on the property
> > stable as it is in a slide zone. In this respect it was a success, but
> > the way they did it might cause problems for me, Im not sure.
> > On the very bottom layer there is some clay/soil type of element, its
> > about 15-20 feet down I estimate.
> > On top of that the contractors dumped giant boulders, to stabalize the
> > ground. Id say 10 feet high tops.
> > Then on top of that they put top soil, not a very thick layer, but
> > grass and palm trees are growing in it just fine.
> > So my question is: will this cause me problems down the line as I try
> > to grow things?
> > It seems that the plants would try to grow deep roots, getting through
> > the top soil only to hit giant rocks with not much soil at all at that
> > layer.
> > Does anyone have any experience growing in these conditions?
> > thanks!
> > -Ty
> > Yahoo! Groups Links
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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